MVB: Gauchos sink Pacific in MPSF opener

The 11th-ranked UCSB men’s volleyball team swept the University of the Pacific on Friday night in their MPSF Conference opener. Game scores for the match were 25-17, 25-19, 25-21.

The Gauchos displayed a strong performance throughout the three sets. Senior Austin Kingi led the UCSB offense, contributing 11 kills. Kingi also took the lead with serving aces, matching a career high with four.

Sophomore setter Jonah Seif had a banner night, putting down a career-best seven kills on seven swings. He also dished out 31 assists in the sweep. On top of that, opposite hitter Evan Licht contributed to the offense with seven kills, and Matt Hanley had six kills of his own.

Without Jake Staahl, who missed the match due to an illness, senior middle blocker Ryan Thompson gave the Gauchos a strong presence at the net, finishing with a match-high five blocks, three of which came in the middle frame.

After taking the first two sets with relative ease, a strong offensive performance by Pacific’s Tommy Carmody (five kills) and Thomas Hodges (team-high six kills) allowed Pacific to take their first significant lead at 12-9 in the third. A Kingi kill and a UCSB triple block sandwiched a Tigers hitting error over the next three points to even the score and squad Pacific’s momentum.

A few point’s later, a Licht service ace put the Gauchos up for good. Kingi’s final kill of the night clinched the match.

Pacific fell to 1-3 overall, 0-1 MPSF with the loss. Barring a matchup in the MPSF Tournament, this is the last time the Tigers men’s volleyball team will visit UC Santa Barbara, as the program will be cut at the conclusion of the season.

UCSB will jump right back into conference action Saturday night as it welcomes the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal to Rob Gym. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.